Italian mayor offers free goats to anyone who can catch them

The mayor of Alicudi is offering free goats to anyone who can capture any number of the wild animals and transport them off the Italian island. Photo by minka2507/

April 4 (UPI) -- The mayor of an Italian island is attempting to solve an animal overpopulation problem with an unusual offer: free goats for anyone who can catch them.

Riccardo Gullo, the mayor of Alicudi, in Sicily's Aeolian archipelago, introduced an "adopt-a-goat" program when the small island's wild goat population grew to six times the human population of about 100.

Gullo said anyone who emails a request to the local government and pays a $17 "stamp fee" can take as many goats as they wish, as long as they transport them off the island within 15 days of approval.

"Anyone can make a request for a goat, it doesn't have to be a farmer, and there are no restrictions on numbers," he told The Guardian.

He said the scheme is currently available until April 10, but he will extend the deadline until the goat population is back down to a more manageable number.

The mayor told CNN that officials will not investigate the intentions of prospective goat owners, but "ideally, we would like to see people try to domesticate the animals rather than eat them."

The island's goat herd originated about 20 years ago, when they were purportedly brought to Alicudi by someone who intended to breed them, but they ended up wandering loose and became wild.

The goats have become a major tourist draw for the island, but Gullo said the population boom has caused the animals to spread beyond their usual habitat to invade gardens and homes.